By Local Democracy Reporter
THE number of offences involving a bladed weapon in Thurrock has shot up over the past five years.
Data revealed following a freedom of information request by Local Democracy reporter Steve Shaw, shows that the number of recorded knife offences in Thurrock jumped from 129 in 2012 to 258 in 2017.
The increase represents a 100 per cent increase over five years, with the largest spike taking place in 2016 when there was a jump from 144 offences in 2015 to 226 in 2016.
This is in line with significant cuts made by Essex Police at the beginning of 2016, which saw several police stations closed and PCSO numbers slashed.
The police claim that while crime is rising there is no evidence that it is directly linked to cuts.
A spokesperson for the police said: “There is no evidence that crime in Essex has changed as a direct result of the decision that the force – as the lowest funded police force in the country per head of population – took to close some police stations that were no longer in heavy public use.
“Essex remains a safe county and the increase in offences is below the national and regional levels. In other crime areas Essex has seen decreases in burglary, theft and shoplifting, despite the country and our region seeing rises.
“The way crime is committed is constantly changing and we must ensure that our focus is on the crimes which cause the greatest harm. We are recruiting 150 more frontline officers by the end of 2019, to fight and prevent crime in our communities.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Crime levels have risen but they are still lower than they were 10 years ago. Safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success and wellbeing for all and we are doing all that we can to support the Chief Constable to bring these figures down.
“We recently increased the policing element of the Council Tax and have worked hard nationally to increase Government funds for policing, so we can increase the numbers of police officers who will be visible on the streets of their communities.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there has been a large increase nationally between 2015 to 2016 and notes that one of the biggest factors could be better police measures in tackling domestic abuse.